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Kelli Carpenter

Kelli Carpenter
  • Profession 
  • Birth Details 

Kelli Carpenter Biography

Roseanne Teresa O'Donnell (born March 21, 1962) is a lesbian Irish-American comedian, actress, and former television talk show host. She was born in Bayside, Queens, New York to Edward J. O'Donnell, an Irish Catholic immigrant from Belfast (from whom she is estranged), and the late American-born Roseann Murtha, who was of Irish Catholic descent . She was raised in Commack on Long Island (Suffolk County, New York).

Rosie O'Donnell briefly attended both Dickinson College and Boston University. O'Donnell began her career performing stand-up comedy around the East Coast, and was soon cast as "Maggie O'Brien" on the sitcom Gimme a Break. Her heavy-set appearance and tomboyish, husky New York accent stood her apart from other actresses and comediennes. She hosted the VH1 stand-up comedy series Stand-Up Spotlight in the late 1980s. She was cast as the lead in her own sitcom in 1992, called Stand by Your Man (a US version of the BBC hit Birds of a Feather), which lasted only briefly due to low ratings. In the early 1990s, O'Donnell starred in a string of comedy films including A League of Their Own, Another Stakeout, and Sleepless in Seattle. In 1994 she played Betty Rubble in the live action movie version of The Flintstones. Throughout this period she was highly acclaimed for her performances, but quickly lost that popularity after appearing in a string of flops in the mid 1990s such as Car 54, Where Are You? and Anne Rice's Exit to Eden. Later she took roles in less commercially successful films such as Now and Then, Beautiful Girls, and the family movie Harriet the Spy. In 1996 she began hosting a daytime television talk show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show. The show proved extremely successful; early on O'Donnell was dubbed "The Queen of Nice." During her tenure, she frequently highlighted various charitable projects, which tended to generate significantly increased donations. Later in the show's run however, some sponsors questioned O’Donnell’s emotional health as her comportment with guests varied erratically. She was rude to some guests while at other times she would talk at length of “being in love with Tom Cruise". The speculations became so prevalent that O'Donnell even made light of it in a promotional commercial for her show, joking that she was on Prozac. During the late 1990s, she was only able to secure limited cameo appearances except in gay-themed films. This led to tabloid speculation that O'Donnell was a lesbian. In 2000, O'Donnell partnered with the publishers of McCall's to revamp the magazine as Rosie's McCall's (or, more commonly, Rosie). Rather than cover the magazine with thin models, she opted for stories about depression, breast cancer, and foster care. "Rosie" magazine failed due to difficulties securing advertising at satisfactory rates. This problem had carried over from her TV talk show after she politicized it, leading to Internet-initiated boycotts of advertisers. It was even reported in USA Today as the main reason the magazine collapsed financially. In 2002, O'Donnell left her talk show, favoring a return to stand-up comedy. The show was then hosted by comedienne Caroline Rhea (The Caroline Rhea Show), but it only lasted one season. Shortly before leaving her show, O'Donnell confirmed the rumors when she came out of the closet as a lesbian. Within the gay community this was common knowledge, and the tabloids had been hinting at it. She claimed various reasons for doing so, including the need for publicity and to put a familiar face to homosexuality, but her primary reason was that as a lesbian adoptive mother (with a long-time lover) she was infuriated that adoption agencies, particularly in Florida, were refusing adoptive rights to able and loving gay parents. She hoped that by coming out, it would increase awareness of this subject. After leaving her show and coming out, O'Donnell underwent an image change. She returned to stand-up comedy, and within her first few shows made fun of various celebrities, among them Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Diana Ross, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Winona Ryder, and Joan Rivers. She also received what was considered by many to be an unflattering, somewhat masculine haircut, remniscent of Cyndi Lauper's hair in the 1980s. The tabloid press again picked up on her life, claiming that she had abandoned the "Queen of Nice" image. O'Donnell pointed out that her stand-up routine had always been very political and abrasive, and that her haircut was a personal choice. She eventually claimed that she had cut her hair in imitation of Boy George, in hopes that he would allow her to produce his stage show Taboo in the United States. If that was the true motive, she was successful, although the show was not, with a failed run on Broadway. In 2002 O'Donnell also published an autobiography entitled Find Me. In addition to cataloging her childhood and early adulthood, the book delved into O'Donnell's relationship with a schizophrenic woman who posed as an under-aged teen who had become pregnant by rape. The book was critically acclaimed and reached number two on the New York Times Best Seller List. In late 2003, O'Donnell entered into a legal battle with the publishers of Rosie magazine. They claimed that the failure of the magazine was due to O'Donnell's uncooperative, rude and violent behavior within the magazine's offices. They claimed that by removing herself from the magazine's publication, she was in breach of contract. O'Donnell claimed that there was no way she could in good conscience continue to be a part of the magazine, because they were moving away from her vision. The trial received considerable press coverage. O'Donnell would often give brief press interviews outside of the courtroom responding to various allegations. Of note was a former magazine colleague who testified that O'Donnell said to her on the phone that "people who lie die of cancer." Ultimately the judge ruled against both sides and dismissed the case. On February 26, 2004, O'Donnell entered legal union with her partner Kelli Carpenter, a former Nickelodeon marketing executive in San Francisco, some two weeks after mayor Gavin Newsom authorized the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her decision to marry Carpenter came after O'Donnell blasted President Bush over his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment. The license was later voided by the California Supreme Court. In December 2004, O'Donnell began maintaining a weblog at onceadored.blogspot.com with the title formerlyrosie, until it moved to Rosie.com in April 2005. Rosie used her blog to give away tickets to her Broadway show, Fiddler on the Roof, in which she plays "Golde" opposite Harvey Fierstein as "Tevye". O'Donnell and Carpenter are currently operating R. Family Vacations, a travel company geared towards gay and lesbian families. They have already launched a cruise ship that carries homosexual families from New York to the Bahamas. O'Donnell continues to entertain and remains a popular pop culture icon, and a celebrity representative of the gay and lesbian community. Rosie and her family now divide their time in homes on the Hudson River in South Nyack, New York and in southern Florida. Read Full Bio >>


Kelli Carpenter Awards

YearAwardCategoryForResult
2006 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Nonfiction Special All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise (2006) (TV). Nominated


Kelli Carpenter Photos

  • Rosie O'Donnell, Kelli Carpenter, their children Parker, Chelsea, Blake and Vivienne

    Rosie O'Donnell's "A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY" HBO Documentary New York Premiere - Arrivals

  • Rosie O'Donnell, Kelli Carpenter, their children Parker, Chelsea, Blake and Vivienne

    Rosie O'Donnell's "A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY" HBO Documentary New York Premiere - Arrivals

  • Rosie O'Donnell, Kelli Carpenter, their children Parker, Chelsea, Blake and Vivienne

    Rosie O'Donnell's "A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY" HBO Documentary New York Premiere - Arrivals

  • Rosie O'Donnell, Kelli Carpenter, their children Parker, Chelsea, Blake and Vivienne

    Rosie O'Donnell's "A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY" HBO Documentary New York Premiere - Arrivals

  • Rosie O'Donnell, Kelli Carpenter, their children Parker, Chelsea, Blake and Vivienne

    Rosie O'Donnell's "A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY" HBO Documentary New York Premiere - Arrivals

  • Rosie O'Donnell, Kelli Carpenter, their children Parker, Chelsea, Blake and Vivienne

    Rosie O'Donnell's "A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY" HBO Documentary New York Premiere - Arrivals

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